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Student Blog: From Stage to Screen: The Best Movie Musicals of 2021

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In celebration of the past year, here is a list of the best movie musicals from 2021 and where to watch them.

Student Blog: From Stage to Screen: The Best Movie Musicals of 2021

With the new year just around the corner, many take time during the holiday season to reflect upon this past year as it comes to a close. Although 2021 has been challenging, it becomes clear that there is so much to be grateful for from vaccines to new movie musicals. While Broadway theaters began to open their doors, several streaming services opened their platforms to producing movie musicals. Unlike most years where few if any Broadway musicals were adapted into movies, 2021 was a year like no other with over ten musicals being created for the screen or being adapted from the stage to the screen. In celebration of the past year, here is a list of the best movie musicals from 2021 and where to watch them.

West Side Story - Steven Spielberg's latest film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name. Based loosely on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story conveys the rivalry between two warring teenage gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, as they fight for dominance in the Upper West Side of 1950s New York City. Amidst their differences, Tony, a former member of the Jets, and Maria, the sister of the Sharks' leader, fall in love, fueling the tensions between the two gangs. With a soaring score and fantastic performances from newcomer Rachel Zegler and Broadway favorites Mike Faist, Ariana DeBose, and Rita Moreno, West Side Story is a must-see film. It is currently playing in most local movie theaters.

tick, tick...BOOM! - Lin Manuel Miranda's directorial debut adapts Jonathan Larson's biographical musical of the same name to the screen. Set in 1992, Jonathan Larson, played by the dynamic Andrew Garfield, performs a rock monologue at the New York Theatre Workshop, detailing the intense few weeks leading up to the workshop of his musical, Superbia, and his 30th birthday. As the soon-to-be famous composer of Rent navigates the pressures of love and friendship, audiences are led on a relatable emotional journey told through a catchy score. tick, tick... BOOM! can be streamed on Netflix at this time.

In the Heights - One the summer's most popular films tells the story of Usnavi, played by Anthony Ramos, a likable bodega owner in Washington Heights, NYC, who hopes and dreams for a better life. Lin Manuel Miranda's moving musical celebration of family and heritage is brilliantly directed by Jon M. Chu, who previously helmed the acclaimed film, Crazy Rich Asians. The film can be streamed on HBO Max.

Come From Away - Filmed live on Broadway, the Tony-award winning musical from 2017 depicts the true-story of what happened when seven thousand people landed in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland after all flights had been grounded due to the events of 9/11. This filming of the Broadway production, directed by Christopher Ashley, can be viewed on Apple TV.

Diana: The Musical - Another musical filmed live on Broadway, directed by Christopher Ashley, portrays the life of Princess Diana as she marries Prince Charles, becomes a royal, and eventually world-famous. Although the musical had a short run on Broadway this past fall, the catchy score, moving performances, and gorgeous costumes make the production worth a watch on Netflix.

Cinderella - Amazon's latest jukebox musical gives a modern and empowering twist to the classic Cinderella fairytale. With performances from pop-star Camilla Cabello as Cinderella, and Broadway stars Billy Porter as the Fabulous Godmother, and Idina Menzel as the evil stepmother, Cinderella is a fun film for all ages. Cinderella is available to view on Amazon Prime Video.

Dear Evan Hansen - Based on the acclaimed musical of the same name, Dear Evan Hansen centers around Evan, an isolated high-school senior who attempts to help the grieving family of his classmate who recently committed suicide. With a star-studded cast that includes Ben Platt, Amy Adams, and Julianne Moore, Dear Evan Hansen is a cathartic experience that features incredible music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Currently, the film is available for rent on Vudu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Youtube.

Annette - Created for the screen, Annette is an imaginative portrayal of a stand-up comedian, Adam Driver, who falls in love with a world-renowned opera singer, Marion Cotillard. Despite their blazing love, their lives go awry with the birth of their baby girl, Annette. Bizarrely compelling, Annette is worth a watch on Amazon Prime Video.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie - One of the best musical adaptations from 2021 follows the life of Jamie New, a 16 year-old British schoolboy who struggles to find acceptance as he pursues his dreams of being a drag queen. Based on a true-story, this adaptation of the West End musical is imaginative, keeping many of the theatrical stylings intact to convey this compelling story on screen. The movie features a cast of very talented up and coming British actors such as Max Harwood, Samuel Bottomley, and Lauren Patel. The film is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Cyrano - Inspired by the play, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, Cyrano relates the tale of the bold and brilliant captain who falls in love with his close friend, Roxanne. Despite Cyrano's many skills, he believes that his appearance will not render him worthy of Roxanne's love as she falls for a man from his regiment, Christian. Using his words and Christian's appearance, Cyrano tragically attempts to display his affection for Roxanne. Told through Joe Wright's dazzling direction, Cyrano is sure to win the hearts of many, especially with its fitting score. The film will be available to view in most local movie theaters starting December 31st.

No matter which film you decide to view, it is certainly a great way to reflect upon the positive aspects of 2021. You can relive the joy of these musicals through the playlist below. Happy New Year and happy streaming!


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From This Author Student Blogger: Emily Pugh